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Recap / Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia S 06 E 13 A Very Sunny Christmas

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"Christmas is just a bunch of bullshit! You just find out that your dad stole all your presents and that your mom gets fucked by a series of never ending Santa Clauses!"
— Mac

In this Christmas Episode, Dennis and Dee decide to show Frank what a terrible father he's been to them over the years by enlisting the help of his old business partner Eugene to pull off a Christmas Carol inspired plot. Meanwhile, Mac and Charlie attempt to get in the Christmas spirit after discovering some disturbing truths about their respective families' festive "traditions".


This episode provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ambiguous Disorder: When the mall Santa asks if Charlie is retarded, Mac just kind of shrugs.
  • Art Shift: Frank's hallucination after crashing the Lamborghini is a Stop Motion animation in the style of the Rankin-Bass Christmas shorts.
  • The Atoner: Mac attempts to make amends for inadvertently stealing his neighbors' Christmas presents as a child, albeit in a pretty selfish and shallow way. Frank also becomes one at the end of the episode after having a near-death experience and realizing how awful his behavior has been.
  • Blood Is the New Black: Dee ends up wearing the shirt that Mac and Charlie bought as an apology gift for one of the people Mac's family stole from after it gets covered in blood from Charlie's attack on the mall Santa.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Charlie flips out and bites a mall Santa in the neck hard enough to draw a considerable amount of blood, in a scene that's equal parts hilarious and horrifying. Also, Frank's stop-motion-animated hallucination features the gang brutally murdering him in the most hilariously graphic way possible.
  • Call-Back:
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Frank claims that he hides in the couch to try and catch Charlie masturbating, much to Dee's bewilderment.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The snow blower that Mac and Charlie are excited to use in the first scene gets put to use at the end of the episode when Eugene blasts the gang with it.
  • Christmas Carolers: The gang start singing outside Ricky Falcone's house to try and bring the Christmas spirit back at the end of the episode. Given that it's four in the morning and they're in one of the rougher areas of south Philadelphia, it goes about as well as you'd expect.
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  • Cluster F-Bomb: Charlie before he attacks the mall Santa.
    Charlie: Did you fuck my mom?
    Santa: What?
    Charlie: Did you... fuck... my... mom? ...Did you fuck my mom, Santa Claus? Did you fuck my mom? Did you FUCK her? Did you fuck my fucking mom?! DID YOU FUCK MY MOM, SANTA?!
  • Comically Missing the Point: Frank at the end of the episode when Eugene pulls a gun on him.
    Eugene: In the spirit of Christmas reparations, I have a little present for you, Frank.
    Frank: Oh, you didn't have to do that, Eugene... (Eugene points a gun at him) ...A gun! I love guns! I got a gun of my own!
  • Delinquents: Young Mac and Charlie apparently engaged in such activities as throwing rocks at trains, which they still do to the present day as a "Christmas tradition". They also reminisce fondly about shaving the neighborhood dog and gluing its fur to their faces to look like cavemen, and then bashing the dog with sticks.
  • Do They Know It's Christmas Time?: Although much of the episode's humor is very dark, it still contains a good deal more heartwarming moments than a typical Sunny episode, and is one of the few in the series' run that ends on a fairly positive note with the gang being brought closer together.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: Discussed at the beginning of the episode when Mac wants to use the snow blower outside the bar since it never snows on Christmas. In the end, he gets his wish when Eugene uses it to blast the gang.
  • Easily Forgiven: Subverted; Eugene claims that he's found Christ and has forgiven Frank for screwing him over and embezzling millions of dollars from him, but at the end of the episode he cheerfully admits that he's still a liar and a thief before robbing the gang at gunpoint as revenge.
  • Evil Is Petty: Not only does Frank buy Dennis and Dee's dream presents for himself, he then goes about ruining them by filling the designer handbag with cheesy loops and chocolate malt balls and adding totally unnecessary modifications to the Lamborghini.
  • Faking the Dead: Frank fakes being dead after his car accident, as he's aware that the gang would never come to see him in the hospital if they knew he'd just sprained his ankle.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Frank emerging fully nude from a inside a couch at his old firm's Christmas party.
    • During one of Charlie's flashbacks, we see the naked butt of a dwarf dressed as an elf who is there to have sex with Charlie's mom.
  • Flashback: The episode features several flashbacks to the childhood Christmases of Mac, Charlie, Dennis and Dee.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Used when Charlie first realizes that his mother was a prostitute, and then again when he sees the Santa kiosk at the mall.
  • Freak Out!: Charlie has one at the mall after discovering that his mother was having sex with various men dressed as Santa during his childhood Christmases, which culminates in him biting the throat of a mall Santa.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Frank becomes this after he pushes Dennis and Dee too far with the fake gifts and then fakes being dead to lure the rest of the gang to the hospital. He does redeem himself at the end of the episode, however.
    Dennis: (to Frank) Oh, you go fuck yourself in your fat fuckin' ass.
  • Friendship Moment: The message that Dennis takes from Frank's story of his near death experience is that he, Dee, Mac and Charlie are stronger when they stick together and that they can still salvage Christmas as long as they have each other. Also, the very end of the episode flashes back to a young Mac and Charlie throwing rocks at trains and features a genuinely sweet moment between the two of them.
  • The Grinch: Frank has been deliberately ruining Christmas for Dennis and Dee since they were children.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: All four younger members of the gang are shown to have had these in their Christmas flashbacks.
    • Mac's parents took him to steal presents from the neighbors' houses on Christmas morning, telling him it was tradition and that this was why they never had presents at their own house.
    • Charlie's mother was a prostitute who would have sex with men for money at their house, leaving Charlie alone for hours at a time to get high on glue.
    • Frank bought Dennis and Dee whatever presents they wanted only to keep them for himself and rub their faces in it, while it's strongly implied that their mother was too hopped up on pills to care.
  • Hypocrite: Frank claims that he's trying to teach Dennis and Dee a lesson about earning things for themselves like he did, but Dee points out that he got all his money by stealing from his old business partner.
  • Improbably Cool Car: Frank buys a bright yellow Lamborghini purely to torment Dennis. Predictably, it gets stolen by the end of the episode.
  • It's All About Me: Frank accuses Dennis and Dee of having this attitude, pointing out that they don't really care whether he changes or not and they just want their presents.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Dennis and Dee insist that Eugene wear chains to play the Ghost of Christmas Past for Frank.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Frank correctly points out that the only reason Dennis and Dee want him to change his attitude is so he'll give them their Christmas presents.
  • Kick the Dog: Frank buying the twins' dream presents every year only to ruin them out of spite.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Mac notes how young his father looks when he's played by the same actor who plays him in the present.
  • Lies to Children: Mac's parents told him it's a Philadelphia tradition to steal Christmas presents from the neighbors' houses, while Charlie's mom told him that the string of "Santas" visiting her on Christmas morning were there to cheer her up. Both of them go on believing their respective lies well into adulthood until the other points out how ridiculous it sounds.
  • Like Father, Like Son: After finding out that the season's hottest Christmas toy is sold out, Mac's first instinct is to come back to the mall after closing hours and steal one of the "reserves" in order to give it to the kids of the guy he stole from, but Charlie points out that he'd just be doing exactly what his dad did by stealing on Christmas again.
    Mac: Shit, dude, it's a vicious cycle. I feel like my parents really screwed me up.
  • Limited Wardrobe: In Charlie's childhood flashback he's wearing exactly the same sleeping outfit that he wears in the present day.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Frank's hallucination features an elf cheerily singing about Frank being horrifically mutiliated by the rest of the gang in explicit detail.
  • Man Bites Man: Charlie bites a chunk out of the mall Santa.
  • Manchild: Mac and Charlie are both initially very excited about Christmas, and have some fun with the old toys they find in Mac's childhood bedroom.
  • Near-Death Experience: Frank has one after crashing the Lamborghini, suffering a disturbing hallucination that forces him to see the error of his ways.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Frank says this to Dee after she starts talking about how he screwed Eugene over, despite Dennis pointing out that she's speaking ill of him. Also, Eugene is shown to be still very much alive.
  • Not Really a Birth Scene: Frank bursting out of the couch strongly resembles a birth scene, not helped by the fact that he's completely naked.
  • Out of Order: The episode was filmed at the same time as season five but was released straight to DVD before being aired at the end of season six. As such, there are a few continuity errors, the most notable being that Mrs. Mac hasn't burned her house down and moved in with Mrs. Kelly yet.
  • Pet the Dog: At the end of the episode, Frank has a change of heart and surprises the gang by giving them all the gifts they wanted. True, they all get stolen by Eugene a moment later, but it's still a nice gesture.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Mac is incensed that the toy store sales assistant doesn't know who Mike Schmidt is.
  • Precision F-Strike: Mac and Dennis both get a couple in, in addition to Charlie's Cluster F-Bomb above. Since the episode was originally released straight to DVD, they aren't bleeped out.
  • Produce Pelting: The gang is pelted with bottles and cans when they sing Christmas carols in the street.
  • Rasputinian Death: Frank gets one in his animated hallucination sequence, to ridiculous extremes. The gang pull his arms off, scoop his eyes out with a spoon, chainsaw his knees, hang him by his spinal cord, feed his legs into a meat grinder, throw him into a gator pit, stab his face and spray mace in the wounds and then tie him to a Christmas tree and set him on fire.
  • Rejected Apology: Ricky Falcone rejects Mac's admittedly terrible attempts at apologizing for stealing from him when they were kids.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Young Mac emits a high-pitched squeal of delight while opening his presents in the flashback... and then at the end of the episode adult Mac does the same thing after seeing what Frank got him.
  • Secret Test of Character: Charlie attempts to put a positive spin on things by claiming that the "curveballs" he and Mac keep getting thrown regarding their families must be part of a "Christmas test".
  • Shared Family Quirks: Dennis does Dee's kicking in the air thing while he's ranting at Frank in the cemetery.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Dennis, Dee, and Frank's whole subplot is an homage to A Christmas Carol with a bit of It's a Wonderful Life thrown in for good measure.
    • Frank's hallucination is animated in the style of the Rankin-Bass Christmas shorts, with a reference to the California Raisins.
    • Dee references Raiders of the Lost Ark while trying to convince Eugene to go "Old Testament" on Frank.
  • Son of a Whore: It's revealed that Charlie's mother was a prostitute. Dennis comments that this explains a lot.
  • Special Edition Title: The opening sequence uses wintery shots of Philadelphia at night (Christmas lights, ice-skating, etc.), with sleigh bells playing over the title music.
  • Spiteful Spit: The elf spits in Frank's face in his hallucination.
  • Twisted Christmas: In true Sunny style, the episode wrings as much Black Comedy out of the Christmas Episode concept as it possibly can.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Frank refers to masturbation as "pounding off".
    Dennis: Where do you get these terms?
  • Vanity License Plate: The license plate of Frank's Lamborghini simply reads "AWESOME1".
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: It looks as though the gang might actually get a win for once as Frank decides to embrace the Christmas spirit and give them all the gifts they really want... and then Eugene decides to rob them all at gunpoint, leaving them to spend Christmas morning dejectedly throwing rocks at trains.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Dennis and Dee deliberately invoke this after discovering that Frank thinks his old business partner is dead in an attempt to make him see what an asshole he's been to them.
  • Your Other Left: The conversation between Mac and Charlie when they're trying to hang the Christmas decorations at the beginning of the episode.
    Mac: You gotta move it a little to the left.
    Charlie: Alright, there we go. How's that?
    Mac: No, your other left.
    Charlie: Uh, my other left? I only have one left.
    Mac: It's just an expression. Just move it to the other direction.
    Charlie: What would that expression be for? For someone who has two lefts?
    Mac: No! Just move it the other way. Move it the other way!
    Charlie: Towards your left?
    Mac: Your left and my left are the same, 'cause we're facing the same direction!
    Charlie: We're two different people, we can't have the same left.


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